Jul 14, 2011

Allentown's Double Standard

I've always maintained that the City Planners couldn't organize a children's birthday party, much less real urban planning. I have evidence to make my point. Take 7th Street for example. Those familiar with that venue know how many times the city has changed the bricks, sidewalks and street lights. The Hispanic business district that developed there was in spite of the city, not because of it. When I attended a meeting with Allentown's new Community Development Director, Sarah Hailstone, and the affected merchants of the hockey arena, I snickered when she said that the city would help the merchants. I actually uttered my birthday party line. Olgie Moreno-Prosper, of New Generation Learning Center, is finding out exactly how helpful the City can be. She has 13 years invested in her current location. Her application to move her daycare center to another location has been denied by city zoning. Allentown's a small place. The zoning board member who spoke against her center, because of traffic concerns, is well connected with the city. His wife is on the Allentown Parking Authority. The Authority is allowed to rent space for a daycare center in the bottom of their parking deck on Linden Street (the old Hess Brothers Deck), with an entrance on the corner of the alley which runs under the deck. Between the traffic and fumes, what could be a worse location than that? Gotta love Allentown.

A comment placed on The Morning Call website, about the article, pretty much sums up the mentality of both the City and many citizens against the displaced merchants.
FutureDowntownArenaAttendee at 1:09 AM July 14, 2011
"So they're telling us 'Take your little day care and move it out of the city of Allentown because we don't want it,' " she said Wednesday. "That's the message I got." (day care owner)

link to Morning Call article by Elizabeth Murphy, photograph by Kevin Mingora


gary ledebur said...

The "Tribune of the People" is back on the job after a brief hiatus down memory lane.

steelbreast said...

An entrance to a city is important. One should find the city inviting and promote the desire to enter. As a former resident of 7th street I approved the many attempts the city made to enhance the entre' to our city. Sadly none of these enhancements proved effective. I believe now that even an attractive entrance to a dead city is worthless. Save our money and hire more police.

Patrick McHenry said...

MM -

This is one of the reasons that I hope those who own properties at the proposed arena site hold on to their properties. City Hall's promises to help with relocation are just another lie.

Monkey Momma said...

In the case of this daycare, I do not think the new location really was a great place for their business. Wasn't the application for a space above a lawyer's established office and already zoned to prohibit such things as daycare?

The Montessori school you speak of is actually a great school - it has an outdoor playground, and the alley is used only to do drop-off in the morning, in a line-up fashion. The build-out inside Montessori is fantastic and secure - you should take a visit sometime, if you can get thru security. ;) (And Montessori is not daycare, per se, it is a school with a very big tuition fee. I should know - my son attended when he was younger!)

Yes, what's happening at the "future arena site" is disturbing, but that does not mean that every business that relocates should go anywhere they please. Obviously, the powers that be in Allentown are doing NOTHING to help the businesses who are being forced to move, which is disgusting. But allowing a daycare that operates for 18 hours a day to move anywhere they darned please is not reasonable, either.

michael molovinsky said...

monkey momma, thanks for the input. the proposed site is next door to another daycare, which occupies in a former law office. allentown's zoning is unequally applied. this affected business owner is playing beat the clock to survive, and the city is putting up roadblocks.

Anonymous said...

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee - Interesting this character appeared as an avid MCALL poster soon after the announcement of the arena.

It's (he/she) primary purpose appears to be the stalking and subsequent berating of other MCall posters in opposition to the arena project.

An interesting disconnect in that I would highly suspect his position was a result of the city planning process.

A rather low brow attempt at crowd control by an administration "committed" to preserving diversity in The City.

It (he/she) is so hateful and venomous to those that are not it's cultural brethren - "say now".

All I can say is I would hate to be it.


Anonymous said...

Been in business 13 years. Committed to downtown Allentown. Provides a valuable service to the community. Helps educate and cares for the children of this city. Nothing wrong here. A valuable service provider as well as a responsible and contributing community member in my estimation.

Excuse me the issue is parking? Seems not to make sense given the business involved and the circumstances of this issue. Perhaps zoning has a surreptitious alternative use for this property down the road, they are not being forthright about.

Yes, as we nod our collective head, another travesty connected with the whole arena debacle. One project that, at this point, seems to put the financial objectives of a few above the human needs of the community and especially those, in this case, of at least some of the children and families in center city.

If I were to make a parting shot, it would be if the City of Allentown is committed to the people displaced in this project, couldn't they use eminent domain to acquire the requisite parking spaces?

But no, just collateral damage I suppose. A consequence of the process?

But then I must remember this is the project that will save Allentown!

I'll support the day care center on this one. Thank you.

David Fehr Zimmerman

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

Thanks for quoting my comment.


Tear all the buildings down!

michael molovinsky said...

dear future, you're quite cavalier when it comes to other people's property and livelihood. no surprise that you're anonymous

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

There is no way that you can make an argument that the business' that currently sit on the plot between 7th and 8th and Hamilton and Linden will bring more economic development then the arena will.

michael molovinsky said...

future, that has all been analyzed on this blog months ago. briefly, pawlowski's claim to bring 1.5million people is absurd. 40 home hockey games at even 5,000 each is 200,000. will those people eat downtown before or after the game, i doubt it. they certainly won't shop. it may well create too much traffic on event evenings for patrons of existing restaurants to bother to continue coming. traffic on 6th, 7th, and 8th street will be horrendous. wanted to host your question, and briefly response, but it's all been said before. check the search engine on the sidebar for arena.

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

@MM. You did not answer my question. Do you think that it will bring more development then the current businesses? Also, your "analysis" is purely based on your thoughts and opinion. You have no facts to support your analyze other then what you think.
Pawlowski's comments are based on professional analysis, make no doubt about that. Your retort for that is, "Why has nothing been released yet?" Well that is simple, because they are in the process of purchasing the properties and the lowest cost. If the report was to be released for public consumption before the properties were purchased the owners of those properties would immediately drive up the costs of their properties which in return will make this project more expensive than it needs be.
In due time, the plans and analysis will be released to the public. The ownership (Brooks) and the developers (Hammes) have a history of success. So to even presume that they just opened up a map, closed their eyes and picked a place where their fingers hit without analysis is ridiculous as well.
Finally, I think that we all can agree with the success of the IronPigs and Coca-Cola Park. I think that you completely overlooked the fact that even the owners of the team, Joe Finley Craig Stein, want to be a piece of the action. Why would they do that if they think that arena is bad investment? Just to give you the benefit of the doubt that you may have just missed that article, here is quote from one of the owners of the most successful minor league baseball team in the whole country.
"We're the ones who suggested that the building be downtown," Finley said. "We thought the arena would be most successful downtown."

Anonymous said...

shillminion from the mayors office.

michael molovinsky said...

future, they could have released their analysis for months already, the cat has been out of that bag for a long time. pawlowski's projection requires over 4000 people a day, everyday of the year. all the struggling arena's, all over the country, had those positive projections. it's easy to be enthusiastic as an elected official, or developer, when a project is funded 93% by the public. let's not forget the NIZ zone, without it brooks and hammes would be looking for a much more promising location. nobody supports the center city location unless they have a vested interest, such as the fegleys.

Anonymous said...

FDAA is an extremely nasty troll touting the mayors vile program.
Jeers and taunting are his tools.
It's sad that our own government would stoop to vicious lies to promote this travesty.
This can be verified on most any of the posts about the hokey arena
found in the MC.
He was using "spring key" as his previous name.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 5:39, regardless of his motivation, i wanted to give him an opportunity to express his opinion. i will not entertain more such comments from him, because that discussion has occurred long ago on this blog. this post is about the city's failure to help the merchants they are dislocating. i met again today with some merchants, and the city is not providing any meaningful assistance; the merchants are apparently disposable.

Anonymous said...

I would venture to say that Future ("Anyways" - as he is known on the MC site) is a direct employee of the mayor, either formal or informal.

His rhetoric is so downtown clown-ness it is scary. Sounds as if he has been sitting in on city council executive sessions, those meetings that violate the sunshine law.

And as it turns out he is an absolute hateful racist, that even the Klan would venerate.

He is giving himself away and is also going to cause huge PR issues for the mayor.

What a fiasco this whole thing is.

I am pretty sure I have uncovered the identity of this henchman. More to be revealed.


FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

@MM. Remember that you quoted me to begin with, which I actually appreciate. I want to clear things up. First, I am not a “Shill” from the administration’s office; I am simply a Allentowian with an opinion. Second, the reference from a poster that I use another name such as “Spring Key” is false. Third, to be called names doesn’t affect me what so ever, however I think it degrades the opinions from the people who toss them. I believe that we all wish and hope Allentown to succeed and become successful in some manner. If you are the Allentowian or even now as our Lehigh Valley has expanded dramatically since the 1970’s, a resident of the Lehigh Valley, to believe that we should live in the vision of lyrics of Billy Joel’s “Allentown” then I have no respect for you as you have you are living in the past. To be cliché, this is our time. This is our time to change direction. There is a huge chance to make things move in a direction that we have not seen in 30 years. Is there opposition? Sure. However have you seen in the past 30 years a chance to do something different? This is something radical to put our community back in a position of economic control. Will it succeed? People have lined up on either side, but I think both sides really want it to, even if you are a proponent or opponent. Finally can we all come together and say that something needs to be done. Is the arena the cure all? That is out for debate, but it is a better option that we have seen in decades.

michael molovinsky said...

future, there are consequences to the plan. the first and major is the displacement of the existing merchants, minor to you, but major to them and me. second, if this plan underperforms, we will have a block square white elephant in the center of town, sucking whatever life was left from center city. my vote is no, but i had no vote, neither did anybody else.

Anonymous said...

This rhetoric of Future's is pathetic.

It has a history of insensitive and hateful comments in the MCALL toward the merchants of the eminent domain area.

And now all this can't we just get along BS. Hypocrit is a complement to call this dweeb.

Anonymous said...

Futures comments should raise a lot of concern. It (he/she) acts as if it has a lot of information the rest of us do not.

This seems to be a common posture among city council members, members of the administration and his honors various agencies.

They are withholding information. They are in violation of The Sunshine Law, in my estimation.

Probably they will state, their confidentiality is to prevent the premature release of information so that RE prices do not skyrocket out of their reach. Already has happened I believe.

Perhaps it is because they really all want to make sure they get a piece of this pie. Retirement is on the horizon. Property in a planned retirement community is pricey these days.

This stinks. It is a travesty of propriety and ethics. Complaints have already been filed with the state attorney general. Hopefully someone will follow through on this.

I wonder where Mann and Brown are on this issue. Seems they have lost their voices on this one.

Sorry to be blunt but people like Future are sc** b**s, the way he prays on the emotions of the Hamilton St. merchants of Allentown.

His percevied power comes from what he sees as an elevated position in the machine. A fool being used for other purposes. They care as much about Future as they do the merchants in the land of eminent domain.

Future you should not have left your neighborhood. Go home, charge up your walkie talkie, strap on your stun gun and peeper spray, and go out and play cops and robbers with your buddies.

Anonymous said...

Allentown can build a downtown arena and attract a minor league hockey team and support lower level entertainment/concerts. Traffic will be a problem for as long as they let it be a problem, but there will be ways to improve this. Some restaurants will benefit, some will not. In the end, look to Reading Pennsylvania. They have had their gymnasium for nearly a decade. Talk to business owners; they are likely to tell you the same thing Allentown will discover - That a nice new arena in a dead or dying mid-sized city with a major crime and perception problem cannot hurt it. But at the end of the day, it alone will not bring Allentown back from the brink. Allentown needs more middle to upper class demographic, needs more jobs, needs a plan to encompass more than simply an entertainment venue.